Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I follow Winchell and read every line

I finally got around to watching Phffft!, DVR'd from TCM two months ago. I learned from my TV friend Robert Osborne that the title comes from Walter Winchell's gossip column; "phffft" was his onomatopoeia for the dissolution of a noteworthy marriage. A lame title for a very lame movie, I'm afraid. I thought it was a good sign that Phffft! was released in 1954, like two of my favorite movies, It Should Happen to You and A Star Is Born, and has much in common with both. Like the former, it pairs Jack Lemmon and Judy Holliday in a Manhattan-set romantic comedy; like the latter, it features Jack Carson at his smarmy best. Unfortunately, it seems 1954 had only so much film magic to go around. But Phffft! does have one thing you can't get anywhere else, at least to my knowledge, and that's an inspired and deeply bizarre comic performance from Kim Novak. Yes, Kim Novak! From Vertigo! I bet you didn't know she could be funny. (In truth, it's a little bit unsettling to watch.) Of special note is the scene where she performs an enthusiastic dance -- with pom-poms! -- while a crowd sings "Boola Boola." Yalies owe it to themselves to check this out, before this Saturday's Game if possible. What better way to get in the spirit?

Speaking of previous entries: Remember when I complained about the useless angel tokens I keep getting in the mail from CRS? Well, I was flipping through a Sundance catalogue the other day, and much to my surprise, I discovered that they aren't useless after all. It turns out little coins with angels on them make terrific gifts! I love this: "We'll send you 20, enough for everyone you love." I suppose they're assuming, if you're the sort of person who would give these out as gifts (and spend more than a dollar on each), you couldn't possibly have more than 20 loved ones.

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